Rokita Distributes Voting Equipment Funds to Newton County

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz

Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today distributed election reform money to Newton County. This was part of the latest round of funding Rokita's office is giving to counties from the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

Newton County received $57,456 in federal and state money which was distributed by the Secretary of State's office. This latest round of reimbursements brings to $29.9 million the total distributed under HAVA to Indiana counties since Rokita's office began distributing funds to help pay for voting equipment upgrades resulting from the required phase-out of lever and punch card voting machines.

Rokita personally met with Newton County Clerk Janice Wilson to reimburse the county for the optical scan machines that will be used by Newton County's approximately 11,000 voters in all 18 election precincts beginning with the 2006 May Primary Election. Newton County will switch from punch card ballots.

"It's been a long road to get to this point," said Wilson. "Secretary Rokita's office has been extremely helpful throughout this process, and we couldn't be more thankful for their help. We think our selection of optical scan voting machines was a good one. When we made the change from punch cards to the Fidlar machines, the transition toward optical machines was seamless and well-received."

"It is great to see federal and state money being put to good use to help ensure fair and efficient elections for Hoosiers," Rokita said. "Newton County can now focus on other election matters."

Congress passed HAVA in response to issues in various parts of the country during the 2000 Presidential Election. HAVA requires states and counties to replace all punch card and lever machine voting systems by January 1, 2006. A number of Indiana counties will be eligible for additional funding in the coming months.